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good espresso machine?

Old 02-15-06, 02:35 AM
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good espresso machine?

I've been doing a lot of research on espresso machines since I've recently developed a nasty cappuccino at coffee shops and figure this would be a lot cheaper in the long run.

It seems like Saeco's are Gaggia's are great machines.

What do you guys recommend? Please list the specific model and if you got a good deal from somewhere, where that was.

Budget doesn't matter but obviously cheaper is better. $400-$500 range is what I'm looking at more, but might consider higher if it would make a much better espresso.

Thanks
Old 02-15-06, 08:09 AM
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Remember that you'll need a good burr grinder too.

For daily coffee that is also in the same vein, you might want to check out a Senseo machine. (Brews under medium pressure.) Steam (or microwave!) some milk, use a dark roast pod or your own dark fine grind in a filter paper, and you'll get a nice cappucino.
Old 02-15-06, 08:50 AM
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Paraphrased & summarized from Home Comforts:

There's several types of espresso makers:

The Moka Pot is easy to use and inexpensive and can deliver a brew thicker and stronger than regular coffee, but not quite espresso grade.
The electric pump espresso makers make something "deserved to be called real espresso" but they are expensive and temperamental.

Mendelson (the author) has some basic tips to make good coffee by any method:
  • Use fresh, cold, good-tasting water. You can use spring water if you wan't, but never used distilled water.
  • Use coffeemakers out of glass, ceramics, or certain plastics. If you use metal, make it stainless steel. Otherwise, they will taint the flavor of the brew.
  • Always wash your coffeemaker and grinder thoroughly with hot soapy water to eliminate staleness.
  • The goal of every type of coffeemaking is to put on the beans water that is just under the boiling temperature.
  • Never let coffee sit on a heated burner or directly over a flame.
  • Reheating ruins coffee.
  • Pre-heat your coffee pot/cone/metal filter/cups with hot water, or by dumping extra boiling water on them. Then empty this water out.
  • Never re-use coffee grounds.

My favorite kind of coffee is tinto, which is the traditional way to have coffee in Colombia. The coffee is brewed to be sweet and dark. I had a cup once at a farm where the coffee was made on a wood stove and it was far and away the best cup of coffee I've ever had. It basically runined me on all other coffee.
Old 02-15-06, 09:33 AM
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Honestly, you don't need to spend more than say $200 if your goal is the quality of the coffee. If you buy an expensive SuperAutomatic machine (see our baby, the Saeco Royal Digital Plus, below ) you are doing it for the features and convinience.

Do we need the cup warmer? Nice to have, but certainly not need to have. We paid for the convinience of dumping the beans in whole, filling the resevoir with water, and then being able to press a button and have 1,2 or however many cups of coffee made fresh in just a few seconds. Tap a switch and have a richer or a lighter cup of coffee. Change a setting and the cup of coffee is hotter or cooler to taste. Test and set the water hardness level so it casn take that into account. We want different sized cups of coffee? Simply program the cup size in. Etc....

Thos features are worth it for us to get a superautomatic. For a lot of people, that level of convinience is not worth it. For them, find any decent espresso maker that can make coffee with sufficient bars of pressure and you will be set.



Oh, also for a good cup of coffee you are completely in control of, consider roasting your own beans. If you go to www.sweetmarias.com you'll get an education. Also check out a place, I believe called the coffee bean corral.

We've gotten the knack of roasting and enjoy it. A friend of ours gave it a try and gave up, so YMMV.
Old 02-15-06, 10:30 AM
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If you want a really good espresso maker...

...get this model:

Rancilio Silvia



This is the home machine most serious coffee fanciers prefer, no contest.
Old 02-15-06, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bushdog
Honestly, you don't need to spend more than say $200 if your goal is the quality of the coffee. If you buy an expensive SuperAutomatic machine (see our baby, the Saeco Royal Digital Plus, below ) you are doing it for the features and convinience.

Do we need the cup warmer? Nice to have, but certainly not need to have. We paid for the convinience of dumping the beans in whole, filling the resevoir with water, and then being able to press a button and have 1,2 or however many cups of coffee made fresh in just a few seconds. Tap a switch and have a richer or a lighter cup of coffee. Change a setting and the cup of coffee is hotter or cooler to taste. Test and set the water hardness level so it casn take that into account. We want different sized cups of coffee? Simply program the cup size in. Etc....

Thos features are worth it for us to get a superautomatic. For a lot of people, that level of convinience is not worth it. For them, find any decent espresso maker that can make coffee with sufficient bars of pressure and you will be set.



Oh, also for a good cup of coffee you are completely in control of, consider roasting your own beans. If you go to www.sweetmarias.com you'll get an education. Also check out a place, I believe called the coffee bean corral.

We've gotten the knack of roasting and enjoy it. A friend of ours gave it a try and gave up, so YMMV.
Mother of Pearl that machine is awesome

I'm not a big coffee fan... YET, what I love are those foofoo cappuccino drinks like the white chocolate mocha you find at Starbucks. You know really sweet tasting, and they go amazingly well with blueberry muffins

I may end up going down the coffee route someday, especially with the good quality stuff, but I had some bad experiences with it early on when I was a lad, so I'm hesistant.

The machine I'm looking for will make a GREAT cappuccino with a nice froth and crema. I'm not even sure how to turn that into a white chocolate cappuccino but I figure it must be the beans or something who knows.

That machine above is something out of a dream. SAECO is definitely the way I'm leaning, I hear the super automatic's are excellent and that's the way I want to have it, no fuss no muss.
Old 02-15-06, 10:00 PM
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We started with a lower end Saeco before this, and we lucked out and got this like 40% off of the current prices, I feel lucky.

Yeah, this can make lots of the frou frou stuff. And from a cost/benefit standpoint 2 people times $4 for a starbucks-like coffee is $8 a day. Multiply that by 250 business days a year and that's a cost of $2000 for the year for coffee. Or you can spend half that or less for a superautomatic that should last multiple years. It makes sense to us, but I certainly appreciate other people who think we're crazy. Just different tastes/values

As for the white chocolate cauppucino, caremel macchiato, etc... it is all about syrup etc... added after the fact. Start with a well brewed cup of espresso and work from there.
Old 02-15-06, 10:05 PM
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Cool thanks!
Old 02-16-06, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bushdog
Honestly, you don't need to spend more than say $200 if your goal is the quality of the coffee. If you buy an expensive SuperAutomatic machine (see our baby, the Saeco Royal Digital Plus, below ) you are doing it for the features and convinience.

I <3 that machine.

-p
Old 02-16-06, 01:27 PM
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So you make the "coffee" with this, but still have to froth the milk, or does it do this automatically as well?
Old 02-16-06, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by RayChuang
...get this model:

Rancilio Silvia



This is the home machine most serious coffee fanciers prefer, no contest.
Agreed. Get the Silvia. I use a Pasquini Livia 90 SE ($1500). I got my mom a Silvia for xmas a few years ago. It is nearly as good as the Livia. The Rancillio Rocky grinder (~$250) is also excellent. If you need a budget grinder, the Capresso Infinity ($90) is also quite good. I have one and use it for my french press, but it would work fine for espresso. I reccomend buying from http://www.wholelattelove.com/ . Great service and good prices. They will usually give you 5-10% off also.
Old 02-16-06, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jon-w9
So you make the "coffee" with this, but still have to froth the milk, or does it do this automatically as well?
The penis on the left side front is the frother thingy. It gets hot enough to produce steam in about 5 seconds.
Old 06-02-06, 02:40 PM
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How does this one look?

$374 after $25 coupon from Amazon

Saeco Magic Deluxe (refurb)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...79945?n=284507

reviews:
http://www.wholelattelove.com/reviews.cfm?ItemID=438

Bushdog, do you think, for the price, that the one you have has that many more features?
Old 06-02-06, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by griz
How does this one look?

$374 after $25 coupon from Amazon

Saeco Magic Deluxe (refurb)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...79945?n=284507

reviews:
http://www.wholelattelove.com/reviews.cfm?ItemID=438

Bushdog, do you think, for the price, that the one you have has that many more features?
Are you looking for convenience or quality? The Saeco is certinaly convenient, but I don't think you're going to get great espresso from it. For quality, the Silvia is the clear winner at this price point.
Old 06-02-06, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BobDole42
Are you looking for convenience or quality? The Saeco is certinaly convenient, but I don't think you're going to get great espresso from it. For quality, the Silvia is the clear winner at this price point.
Probably more convenience...with decent/good quality.
Anything to try and wean down how many coffee's my wife buys from a local kiosk.
Old 06-02-06, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by griz
Probably more convenience...with decent/good quality.
Anything to try and wean down how many coffee's my wife buys from a local kiosk.
Then the Saeco super-auto is probably the way to go. Enjoy!
Old 06-02-06, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BobDole42
Are you looking for convenience or quality? The Saeco is certinaly convenient, but I don't think you're going to get great espresso from it. For quality, the Silvia is the clear winner at this price point.
Uhm, because? I think you may be mistaken as to what is involved in good coffee making. As I already explained pressure is the key, which the Saeco delivers just as well as any other coffee maker.
Old 06-02-06, 03:42 PM
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Pressure is, of course, very important, but there is more to it than pressure. Temperature control, tamp, quality and consistentcy of the grinder, etc. are all very important.

I'm not going to get into a big thing here, but I don't think I'd be making a smart-ass comment like "you may be mistaken as to what is involved in good coffee making" while you're claiming that a $400 super-auto can produce espresso that rivals that of an excellent semi-auto or manual machine.
Old 10-05-06, 07:33 PM
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I figured I'd resurrect this one rather than start a new one. My dad makes himself a latte nearly every day and has been buying cheap espresso maker after cheap espresso maker. They break nearly once a year. My mom is fed up and decided to get him a real machine.

I did some research and narrowed it down to this one: http://www.wholelattelove.com/Saeco/incanto_sirius.cfm

What do y'all think?
Old 10-05-06, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bushdog
We started with a lower end Saeco before this, and we lucked out and got this like 40% off of the current prices, I feel lucky.

Yeah, this can make lots of the frou frou stuff. And from a cost/benefit standpoint 2 people times $4 for a starbucks-like coffee is $8 a day. Multiply that by 250 business days a year and that's a cost of $2000 for the year for coffee. Or you can spend half that or less for a superautomatic that should last multiple years. It makes sense to us, but I certainly appreciate other people who think we're crazy. Just different tastes/values

As for the white chocolate cauppucino, caremel macchiato, etc... it is all about syrup etc... added after the fact. Start with a well brewed cup of espresso and work from there.
I completely agree. This was my rationale for my cap/espresso addiction. Of course, I kicked the habit....but now i'm back!!

-p
Old 10-05-06, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by shaun3000
I figured I'd resurrect this one rather than start a new one. My dad makes himself a latte nearly every day and has been buying cheap espresso maker after cheap espresso maker. They break nearly once a year. My mom is fed up and decided to get him a real machine.

I did some research and narrowed it down to this one: http://www.wholelattelove.com/Saeco/incanto_sirius.cfm

What do y'all think?
Looks like a nice machine to me. Wholelattelove is a great site. I have purchased two espresso machines from them (a Pasquinia Livia 90SE for me and a Rancillio Silva for my mom) as well as several grinders and accessories. Give them a call - they may take 5% off the price if you ask.
Old 10-06-06, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by griz
How does this one look?

$374 after $25 coupon from Amazon

Saeco Magic Deluxe (refurb)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...79945?n=284507

reviews:
http://www.wholelattelove.com/reviews.cfm?ItemID=438

Bushdog, do you think, for the price, that the one you have has that many more features?
That's the machine I have. I've had it for like 4 years at this point, and I absolutely love it. It pulls consistent shots, heats up in a reasonable amount of time, and cleans up easily. It's a great machine.

The Royal mentioned above is pretty damn fine too. I may upgrade in the future...I had a smaller espresso maker before the Magic, and I think I'm staying with the super automatics. I liked pulling shots from the old machine, but the rewards are limited - basically because of time. With the MagicDX, I can just make a quick one before leaving for work...

and if I may recommend some beans... www.theroasterie.com. Their espresso blend is exquisite - quite bold, mildly acidic, not greasy, and very aromatic and earthy. 2 lbs for $20 shipped...can't beat it.

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